This study investigated the psychological states underlying excellent performance in 26 athletes (Mage = 29 years, SD = 7.7) across a range of sports (team, net/wall, sprint, endurance, adventure) and standards (world class to recreational). Participants were primarily interviewed on average 4 days after excellent performances. The data were analyzed thematically. Distinct states of flow and clutch were reported, each of which occurred through separate contexts and processes, while athletes also transitioned between states during performance. These findings extend current knowledge of the psychology of excellent performance and are discussed in terms of implications for future research and applied practice.